Several parents, former students and students asked Lawrence's school board Monday night not to fire Lawrence High School's Pom Squad coach.
However, the board approved a resolution of intent to terminate Ashley Stewart's supplemental contract as the squad's coach based on an incident involving alcohol at the Sept. 30 homecoming game.
Board President Sue Morgan said the board was not able to publicly comment on the reason for the termination.
However, Morgan said those who want to support Stewart would be able to do so during a hearing process, if Stewart asks for a hearing within five days.
Stewart said Monday night that she has notified the board in writing that she will ask for a formal hearing to look into the matter.
"It was blown out of proportion," said Stewart, who has been the Pom Squad coach at the school for six years.
According to Stewart, the incident involved a student who was on the LHS Pom Squad who apparently had an alcoholic drink several hours before the Sept. 29 LHS homecoming football game.
Stewart said she asked the student at the game if the girl had been drinking because she could smell alcohol on the student's breath.
Stewart said she allowed the girl to cheer at the game, then made sure the girl had a ride home from the game.
Stewart said she informed the girl's parents and her supervisor the next day.
She said she was told she was fired Oct. 2 because she didn't tell her supervisor the very night of the incident.
Among those supporting Stewart were Sandy Murray, who read a letter from her daughter, Abbey, a 2005 LHS graduate and a former member of the squad.
Other supporters included Emily Thomas, a Kansas University student and former member of the LHS Pom Squad, and two current squad members, Brittany Bruhns and Brooke Massey.
"If you guys take Ashley Stewart away from that pom squad, you're making a huge mistake," said Rodney Bruhns, Brittany's father.
According to a resolution approved by the board, the reasons for the termination were "incidents of unprofessional conduct, including failure to support and comply with Board polices of providing a drug- and alcohol-free environment for students (Policies JDDA and JCABBC), the board policy for ethical conduct (Policy GBU), and the board policy for staff-student relations (Policy GAF)."
The resolution said Stewart would be suspended with pay from her employment duties as of Oct. 9.